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Summer comes early to RORC Easter Challenge

by James Boyd 19 Apr 14:07 PDT 19-21 April 2019
Tanning, not racing, for the RORC Easter Challenge fleet © Rick Tomlinson

Sadly, conditions on the opening day of the RORC Easter Challenge were better suited to improving competitors' suntans than their sailing skills.

At this event, that annually doubles as the Royal Ocean Racing Club's domestic season opener and as a training regatta to accelerate crews getting up to speed ready for the year ahead, an absence of wind out on the Solent meant there was no racing, despite valiant attempts by the race committees.

As Principal Race Officer Tim Hancock explained: "It was a very stable day so a lot of mist around the whole area and the sun didn't burn it off, which meant there was no circulation and the winds kept fighting each other. The forecast was east southeasterly 7-9 knots and we never got more than 4.5. The wind was northeasterly this morning and went to the northwest and then to the south and then to southeast and then...nothing. We moved around the area quite a bit to find breeze but that didn't help and with <2 knots of spring tide made it pretty impossible to go racing."

Eminent Kiwi navigator and weather expert Campbell Field, navigating here on Niall Dowling's FAST 40+ Arabella (ex Pace), agreed: "There was a very gentle northeasterly gradient that couldn't push its way in. In the forecast this morning there was a chance of some sea breeze if it did make its way up. We had to try. At least it was nice out on the water."

Sadly the forecast is showing little respite for tomorrow, Saturday, day two of the RORC Easter Challenge.

"It should be slightly more promising," continued Field of tomorrow's conditions. "There's still a light northeasterly gradient, but anything can happen and the forecasts are changing dramatically day by day: The forecasts from Tuesday indicated there was going to be 25 knots today!"

Tim Hancock's meteorological crystal ball says similar: "There will be sunshine, but the forecast indicates it will again be from the easterly quadrant. We are starting earlier tomorrow and we can but hope. At least it's not raining..."

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